Latest on Mike Modano; Demitra to KHL

July, 15, 2010

Mike Modano is 40 years old and his best hockey is behind him, but his All-Star career keeps him at the forefront of fans' interests.

I can't tell you how many times a day readers ask about the "latest on Modano." reached out to him Thursday after hearing a website rumor linking him to Chicago.

"Haven't talked to them at all," Modano told via text message.

Modano added that the same three teams remain in the mix: Detroit, Minnesota and San Jose. He was set to tee it up in the Tahoe Celebrity Golf event later in the day. Good luck, Mike!

Elsewhere on Thursday:

• Speaking of veteran free-agent forwards, a source told on Thursday that Pavol Demitra was close to signing a deal with a KHL club in Russia. Named to the Olympic All-Star team this past February, Demitra struggled with the Canucks and was in and out of coach Alain Vigneault's doghouse.

[Update from LeBrun (3:46 p.m. ET): Later on Thursday, Demitra signed a one-year contract with Yaroslavl of KHL.]

• Another free agent still out there is Denis Grebeshkov, a Russian blueliner some people don't realize is actually an unrestricted free agent. He was supposed to be an RFA this summer, but the Nashville Predators didn't tender him a qualifying offer. The frugal Preds had hoped to re-sign him at a discount on his $3.15 million qualifying offer, but talks broke down and he walked. Two weeks into unrestricted free agency, the Russian defenseman remains unsigned.

"There's some interest, but nothing concrete," Grebeshkov's agent, Todd Diamond, told on Thursday. "We've spoken to a lot of teams, but I think the problem is that we're in the fifth and sixth cycle of this CBA, and from my standpoint, the system is clogged with teams having contracts they don't want."

Grebeshkov is only 26 years old and just two years removed from a 39-point campaign in Edmonton. This past season, he slumped to 21 points while battling injuries.

"If you look at the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Cup and the style of defense their team played, that's what Denis is, a great puck-mover," said Diamond. "The guy has unlimited ability, in my opinion."

There is interest from the KHL, but Grebeshkov hopes to remain in the NHL at this point. If I'm the San Jose Sharks, and the price for Tomas Kaberle is too high, I would look at Grebeshkov as a possible option -- if the price is right.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer



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